Frugal Gardening 101: Prepping your plot and planting early seeds


If you are pondering about developing your have vegetables this summer season to conserve revenue on skyrocketing food stuff charges, now is the time to put together a backyard plot for planting. 

Heidi Wood, horticulturalist for the Town of Stratford, P.E.I., states it is her favourite section of the gardening year because well-ready soil is the critical component to escalating a bountiful yard for the total summer time. 

“Receiving my soil ready is my favourite matter,” said Wooden from her workplace at the Robert L. Cotton Centre. “You really only get one chance.” 

Very first thing to consider: how significant must your yard plot be? Wood suggests a dimension of 6 metres by 12 metres (20 feet by 40 feet) for a family members of 4. Her individual plot at the Stratford Neighborhood Gardens is a few metres by 5 metres (10 toes by 17 toes). 

You can make your plot smaller or more substantial based on what you want to mature — check seed packages for place advice. 

heidi wood garden plot before and after
Heidi Wood’s backyard garden plot ahead of preparation, remaining, and after, right. (Heidi Wood)

You can also make your plot smaller sized and lower weeding and other soil treatment, by heading vertical. Wooden grows climbing yellow and inexperienced beans, and cucumbers can also climb. Her father helped her build a framework with discarded two-by-fours and some netting — or you can just use durable fallen tree branches secured with twine at the prime. 

Veggies like climbing beans can even be developed in hanging baskets with the vines cascading down, Wood explained. Or you could grow them in a container on your deck with some poles to climb, along with containers for tomatoes, lettuce and herbs. 

Prep the soil

If you are starting up a backyard plot from scratch using a patch of garden or field it is best to do it in the drop, Wood said. But there’s nevertheless time to begin this spring.

Select a spot with entire sun (no shade). Wood suggests looking at in which the grass is increasing most effective on your lawn: that signifies superior soil. 

heidi wood spreads compost on her garden plot in stratford s community garden
Wooden spreads compost on her backyard plot in Stratford’s group back garden to make the soil a small a lot less alkaline and combat compaction. She does not use conventional fertilizers. (Heidi Wooden)

She suggests a few means to prep soil from scratch: 

  • Till up your patch, sod and all, then take out the bits of grass and weeds by hand.
  • Take out and discard the sod then until the soil beneath. 
  • Dig up the sod, flip it about and depart it on top rated of the soil for a couple of weeks for it to decompose, then discard what is remaining.

You can purchase a mechanical tiller, which begins at about $200, a hand tiller for about $60, or choose an all-goal back garden spade for about $20. 

If you presently have a garden plot, merely eliminate as lots of weeds as you can to “begin out with a clean up bed,” Wooden claimed. 

Most gardens will then delight in a layer of compost, which can be bought by the bag for about $5. There are also frequent compost giveaways or revenue across P.E.I. and Wood suggests holding an eye on social media for those people. She also advocates examining with area farmers for some free of charge manure — she recommends it be about a year old to be well-decomposed, not new. 

Distribute an inch or so of compost on top rated of your tilled soil, then mix it in flippantly with a steel rake ($20 or so) or with a shovel, or even by hand. 

“Practically like you are baking, you stir it in,” claimed Wooden. Test to stay clear of standing on your soil, as that will compact it and make it inhospitable for seeds to take root, she reported. If you need to increase additional compost you can do so later on in the time.

 Minimize disrupting the soil mattress, she advises, as there are weed seeds lurking, and earthworms undertaking great work.

Tools you’ll will need

You can spend a large amount in yard instruments, but you never automatically have to. Wood suggests at a minimal you may require a spade, metallic rake, a hoe and a hand trowel. All those really should price a lot less than $100 total. 

weeds in heidi wood s garden plot
This is chickweed , which Wooden suggests can reveal a number of points: soil that is higher in nitrogen, alkaline and compact. (Heidi Wooden)

To keep it frugal, you could borrow what you have to have from a neighbour, or provide to share the value of resources with some neighbours. 

If you sign up for a group garden, you will shell out for a plot by measurement, but most memberships consist of entry to all the tools you’ll want, as well as a h2o resource. 

You can also purchase a $50 membership to the Charlottetown Device Library. Decide on up instruments by appointment at their storage locker on Thompson Drive. Rentals for most applications are about a 7 days lengthy. They also have applications together with hammers, saws and drills for setting up lifted beds. The library can be found on Facebook or by calling (902) 314-9732. 

You’ll want entry to h2o for the garden, also. Wood indicates producing or shopping for a rain barrel which can connect to a downspout on your house or drop. You could also merely put out buckets to capture rainwater. Gardens favor rainwater more than cooler tap h2o, she claims.

Planting moments

Spinach, leaf lettuce and inexperienced onion seeds can be planted in soil now, Wood said, as can cabbage, cauliflower or broccoli transplants you have started indoors. 

heidi wood plants seeds in her garden plot in stratford s community gardens
‘Planting seeds is effortless,’ Wooden says. (Joyce Wood)

“Things like that, that can adapt properly to the awesome temperatures,” she defined. “The soil is warming, but it can be not very there just but. I know it is tough for people to just variety of sit again on these great sunny days and think ‘Oh I ought to get in the backyard,’ but … we could have snow.’ ” 

In mid-Might, gardeners can start to plant some of the seedlings they have begun to grow indoors, or that they have ordered at a back garden centre — items like head lettuce, carrots, beets and parsnips. 

The conclude of May perhaps or the beginning of June are the ideal time to plant items like beans, which are really delicate to frost. 

For planting instructions, refer to your seed deals, Wooden stated. 



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